Days after the Cabinet opted against taking the ordinance route to bring in anti-graft measures, Union minister Salman Khurshid today indicated that the advice of President Pranab Mukherjee had been sought in the matter and that in such cases, the government must bow to his wishes.
"Should you not have a communication with the President? The President is after all the head of the country, he is like a father figure for the country. If you want something done, why should you not go and take his advice," he told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's 'Devil's Advocate' programme.
Khurshid was asked if senior government ministers had met the President to ascertain his mood on the issue of ordinances.
The minister said that legislation, ordinances or important decisions for the country could not be taken without keeping the President in the loop and without having the President's approval.
Thus, on the issue of ordinances, it was the perception of the President that mattered, Khurshid said.
"Finally, it has to be the President's perception... What you consider to be extremely urgent and important and requiring immediate action, if he thinks that is not so, we must bow to his wishes," he said.
Asked whether the government had gone by the President's advice by not bringing the ordinances, he said, "I've no idea, I am just saying we always bow to the President's wishes." The Union Cabinet had last Sunday rejected the ordinance route for a set of anti-corruption measures despite pressure from Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for bringing such laws. It was believed that the decision was influenced by the apprehension that the President would not give his assent.
Khurshid refuted suggestions that the government was trying to set an agenda for the next Parliament and said it would be completely sovereign, free and autonomous to take a decision.